Better Roads Staff
By Tom Jackson, Contributing Editor
Other than the cost of the machine itself, fuel and tires are the biggest expenses you face in earthmoving and quarry work. While the price of fuel is out of your control, there are a number of tire-related factors you can control that will lower operating costs and increase your uptime.
It starts with picking the right tire. And just because all tires are round and black does not mean they’re all the same. Today’s heavy equipment tires offer a diverse range of technological improvements over designs of just a few years ago. Here’s a guide to what the major manufacturers are producing.
A new retread option, the Michelin XZY3 Pre-Mold, brings all the technological innovations of the company’s new tires to a retread product with a heavy duty, thick tread and anti-cut/anti-chip properties for the on/off road market. The XZY3 Pre-Mold tread comes in rolls and multiple widths and is applied to casings at Michelin authorized franchises. The company also uses two different rubber compounds co-extruded in the XZY3 product. “It uses a cooler running compound by the casing to keep heat off the casing for better performance and longevity,” says Tom Brennan, vice president of sales for retreading at Michelin. “Then the tread that goes against the road can be a different compound and be more aggressive or fuel efficient or offer less rolling resistance, if needed.”
The Michelin XDR2 tire, designed for rigid dump trucks, offers up to 20 percent more tread for greater wear and durability than its predecessor, says the company. It has 10-percent thicker undertread between the protective plies and tread base to better withstand cuts and impacts, and a 13-percent larger central lug in a non-directional tread design than its predecessor, the XDR.
The XDR2 tire also runs cooler thanks to its new optimized sculpture with cooling vents that enable air to circulate through the tread lugs during the first half of the tread life without compromising the tire’s ton-mile-per-hour ratings. A new casing geometry, dubbed C2, also reduces heat build up. A new steel ply design helps delay and prevent the spread of corrosion when cuts occur, and improved sidewall and bead design better distributes sidewall stress. These corrosion-isolating cables also delay the spread of corrosion from cuts, says Hugo Morales, marketing mining manager for Michelin Earthmover Tires.
Titan’s DTH4 line of haul truck tires has a somewhat less aggressive tread than similar E-4 tires, which allows it to run smoother and a little faster than a more aggressive tread design needed for high-traction situations. The DTH4 line was recently expanded to include 27R49, 33R51, and 40R57 sizes.
Titan has also worked to better integrate the interface between the tire and the wheel, creating what it calls ACT (accelerated change technology) rim designs. One example: ACT 63 wheel assemblies for dual tire assemblies on large quarry and mining trucks have flanges that enable you to remove the inside tire on dual tire axles without having to remove the outside tire. “On a Cat 797, there are 64 bolts holding the wheel on,” says Hawkins. “An ACT wheel can save three of four hours on the inside dual tire change depending on the size of the truck, every time you change tires.”
Bias tires are still popular on large wheel loaders. That’s because their stiff sidewalls, compared to a radial, offer more rigidity and stability when the bucket is high in the air.
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